Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Creative Writing Class #1

I have begun a Creative Writing Class in a local institution. It is interesting preparing curriculum for adult writers, with varied life experiences. I am recording my curriculum, reflecting on the actual class, and rewriting my "Night Book" (as the classes are at night) to determine what worked, what we did or did not do as a group, and ideas to explore for further classes.

1. Introductions
2. Myths about writing =  barriers to success
  • Spelling counts
  • Must write perfectly every time, and that mistakes are not allowed
  • Must follow one path to success
  • Must come out with specific knowledge, skills and values
  • Must meet particular time constraints.
  • I don't know the mechanics about writing: how to spell, write, proper grammar
Barriers to adult learners occur when learners feel they are haunted by bad teachers, past mistakes, or 'they have nothing to write about'.

3. Why are you here?  What do you want from the program? Why do you write?
4. Set up notebooks: a title page, 3 pages for table of contents, another page for Writing Prompts.
5. Ground rules: behaviour, attitude, respect for one another's sensibilities.
6. Timed writing. On a fresh page, write the date, and the words: I remember...
For 2 minutes participants finish the sentence. No erasures, no worrying about form or mechanics. Simply start a new paragraph and a new sentence.
7. Teach the concept of a poem by taking one paragraph, eliminating the unnecessary words. Share poems with the group. No pressure. Give suggestions for refinements.
8. What is the writing process all about? What steps do good writers follow?
9. Homework: read, write, every day, a lot.
Poetry starters: see these posts. Begin with the I remember ...
as a timed writing...

Then, the words have to be rewritten. Ask them to try to use adjectives, to be specific about the kind of cat, what is it that they see, hear, smell? Make it present tense, if you wish...

I remember first view
meowing cat inside metal cage
happily rubbing on the bars  
he watches me
meows again  
pick him up  
enfold him into my life

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